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Section Four: Using the ENTRI System

Overview

The ENTRI system brings together two unique sources of information; international environmental treaties as well as national level socio-economic and natural resource data. The ENTRI system allows you to associate treaties, countries, as well as data about countries, with one another. This section of the guide discusses the basic features currently available and also offers suggestions which will allow you to take full advantage of the flexibility built into the system. In particular, the following topics will be covered in this section:

Just click on any one of the above items to "jump" to that section of this document. The links you will see in each section of this guide will send you to the ENTRI system itself.

The content of the ENTRI system is intended to help you address a set of key issues related to the human dimensions of global environmental change. At the heart of the system is a sophisticated query engine which allows you to simultaneously search for treaties, countries, and data. A powerful, and convenient, way to search for data is through a set of pre-defined "basic questions". These questions reflect the most common types of queries users request from the system. Instead of building a query from scratch, we have "pre-defined" several questions which normally satisfy our user's data requirements. In the near future, we hope that you will be able to construct your own complex queries (and please let us know if you're interested in that capability); but for now, we believe that the "built-in" questions will satisfy many of your research needs.

Before the Basic Questions are explored in detail, the following sub-sections discuss some important aspects of the system. In them, you will find general information on how to obtain information from the database. Please keep in mind that the links in these sub-sections lead directly into the ENTRI system.

Searching for International Environmental Treaties

The ENTRI system allows you to search for treaties in a number of ways. You may use the free-text search engine engine to find treaties or you may search the entire collection either alphabetically or chronologically. The free-text search engine is particularly useful if you want to see what treaties contain a reference to a specific word or phrase such as "marine pollution" or "biodiversity". A list of treaties which match the expression you requested will be returned. Just click on any of the treaties in the list to view the full text of that treaty.

In addition to the full texts of treaties, you may also search for treaty summaries. As with the full text feature, you can search for brief descriptions of treaties in different ways. You may execute a free-text search of the summaries or search a chro nological list of summary files. An alphabetical list of the summaries is unavailable at this time.

These types of searches are useful if you are not quite sure what you are after, or want to get an overview of what the collection contains. Once you have done that, it will probably be of more interest to associate countries with treaties and download relevant data about those countries.

Associating Treaties with Countries

Although associating treaties with specific issue areas, such as marine oil pollution or ozone depletion, is interesting and useful to a wide range of research objectives, knowing what treaties a country is party to is even more useful. As discussed in Section One of the guide, nation-states are the primary political actors responding to global environmental change. Knowing what treaties a country is party to tells you a great deal about that state and its commitment to addressing environmental concerns.

Unfortunately, the process of associating countries and treaties is more complex than simply knowing which treaties have been signed by a particular state. In general, it is most useful to know when a treaty entered into force (when the country "officially" began to abide by the terms of the treaty) rather than when the country signed a particular treaty. The ENTRI system provides users with as much treaty "status" information as possible.

Accessing National Level Data

In addition to associating treaties with countries, ENTRI also allows you to access a wide range of national level data. For example, you may want to know the Per Capita GNP of the signatories of the Montreal Protocol or determine what treaties states with a population over 100 million tend to sign. The data, provided by the World Resources Institute, provides a rich source of socio-economic and natural resource data.

Basic Questions

As indicated above, the Basic Questions are a set of pre-defined research questions which offer a "short-cut" method of constructing a query. By clicking on any one of the Basic Questions, you are systematically led through the query building process relevant to the question you selected. Once "inside" a question, just follow the instructions. (WARNING: it may take as much as 30 seconds for initial loading of each question; but results are returned much more quickly.)

The following represent the current suite of available questions. By clicking on a question, you are sent directly to that question and are ready to access the database. A short description of each question is provided directly under each of them (please check back often as we frequently enhance the system).

  1. When did a treaty enter into force?

  2. Which treaties are in force for a given state?

  3. Which states are party to a given treaty?

  4. What are the values of national resource indicators related to a given issue and a given state?

  5. What are the values of selected national resource indicators for all states that are (or are not) parties to a particular treaty at a given time?

  6. Based on the value of selected national resource indicators, which states are parties to a particular treaty or treaties ?

  7. What treaties are related to a particular subject (using keywords assigned by IUCN)?


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